Playing once again on their own court, the Suns made Game 5 count, thrashing the Trail Blazers to take a 3-2 series lead. The series now heads back to Portland on Thursday, but here’s what they’re saying across the nation after the Suns routed the Trail Blazers Monday night…
- John Hollinger writes on ESPN’s Daily Dime that the pivotal play in the series may have come on a simple first-quarter possession: “Trailing 18-4 after the Blazers blasted out of the gate by scoring on eight straight trips, the Suns did something we’ve rarely seen them do in the playoffs: Run after a make. Following Marcus Camby’s tip-in at the 7:18 mark, Steve Nash took the inbounds pass, hit it ahead to Grant Hill streaking up the sideline, who drove and kicked out to Jason Richardson for a wide-open 3-pointer.”
- Also on the Dime, Jared Dudley earned honors in the “Extreme Behavior” category. I’m sure you can guess whether the honors were good or bad.
- The Oregonian‘s Jason Quick discusses the vast difference between Games 4 and 5: “It was a dramatic turnaround from Portland’s Game 4 victory, when the Blazers controlled the boards and stifled the Suns’ vaunted fast-break attack. On Monday, Phoenix had 15 offensive rebounds, which led to a 22-14 advantage in second-chance points, while holding a 17-6 advantage in fast-break points.”
- And John Canzano at The Oregonian says it’s “the moment of truth” for the Trail Blazers and challenges fans to believe in a Game 7: “So before you answer whether you believe there will be a Game 7, ask yourself whether you thought playing deep in a playoff series was possible when you heard Greg Oden went down for the season? How about Joel Przybilla? How about when coach Nate McMillan had to jump into a practice drill because he was so short on players and subsequently ruptured his Achilles’ tendon?”
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic reflects on the up-and-down win and says the Suns have to figure it out in every game, not just when they are down: “Unless Greg Oden or Joel Przybilla are coming back, the Suns are in a good shape unless they find too much comfort in having two chances to win one. An urgency to win can’t just be when they are trailing or tied in the series.”
- At BlazersEdge, Dave compares the Trail Blazers offense to Jennifer Connelly in the 1986 movie Labyrinth … for the first six minutes anyway.
- Fran Blinebury of NBA.com writes that the Suns’ confidence has boxed the Trail Blazers into a corner and had this to say of the Suns’ offense and Portland’s biggest mistake: “It is so easy to succumb to the temptation to play with the Suns and so easy to get burned.”
- At Bright Side of the Sun, Seth Pollack takes a look at the Suns’ offensive rebounding efforts.